Baby monitors and sleeping pacifiers can help you fall asleep, but they don’t help the baby stay asleep, new research shows.
Sleep-deprivation parents are often concerned about sleep and infant development, but their worry is misguided, according to new research.
Sleep disorders have been linked to many diseases, including sleep apnea and narcolepsy, but there is a lack of research about the impact of sleep on babies and young children, said Jennifer Molloy, a research assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the study’s lead author.
The lack of evidence, however, may be due in part to the difficulty of collecting data in the field.
Mollox’s team analyzed data from more than 6,000 parents and babies in the U.S. The research was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
“When we look at sleep disorders, we tend to look at the individual,” Mollay said.
“But what we don’t really understand is the cumulative impact of all of these things, because there is no standardized methodology for measuring sleep or sleep-related health problems in infants and young kids.”
Sleep and sleep deprivation can lead to a range of health issues for babies and toddlers, including:Sleep disorders, such as sleep apneas, sleep disorders linked to obesity and sleep disorders associated with sleep-disordered breathing, are often considered the most common causes of sleep loss in infants.
Some researchers suggest that babies and their sleep-depleted parents may be at higher risk for other sleep disorders such as obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep apnoea.
The problem, however is that research on the relationship between sleep and the health of babies is limited.
Researchers at the Institute of Child Health and Development at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., have been studying the relationship of sleep and obesity since 1999.
“We’re not seeing any correlation between obesity and obesity in babies,” said Dr. Jennifer J. Wadden, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital Baltimore.
“It may be that the parents are sleeping more than they’re eating.”
While the researchers are conducting extensive sleep studies, they have not yet identified a link between obesity, obesity-related conditions, and sleep, Wadden said.
But a study published last year by the Journal to Prevent and Control Obesity found that children who had low sleep levels and who experienced a sleep-wake cycle of 1 to 5 hours per night had higher risk of developing obesity-associated sleep disorders and more sleep problems in later life.
“In addition to obesity, it may also be that these children may be sleep deprived because of sleep apnia, which is a sleep disorder that is associated with obesity and is also associated with increased risk of diabetes,” Wadden told CNN Health.
Wadden said the research is still in its infancy, but the results are promising.
“These are very early studies, and we’re just starting to identify these associations,” she said.
Researchers say sleep-restricting parents often don’t realize that they are putting their babies at risk for many health problems.
“You don’t know when it’s happening and you don’t want to know because you don, and that’s the reason why sleep is such a critical topic,” Waddles said.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.